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Dubai-based university lab uses smart grids for clean energy

The past few years have seen sustainable energy come under the spotlight on a global stage, and the Emirates have also turned their focus towards renewable sources of power. As Abu Dhabi scales up capacity to generate hydrogen, touted as fuel of the future, Dubai has become home to the world’s biggest solar park which is already lighting up 240,000 households in the city.

With ambitions to evolve as a smart oasis in the region, Dubai has also deployed tech tools via public service bodies including DEWA, which are helping people keep track of energy consumption. Raising the bar for scope of innovation in the power sector, the Rochester Institute in Dubai has set up a smart lab, where students can get first hand experience of futuristic grids.

The facility uses simulation to prepare emerging engineers in the UAE for challenges and transitions, in a future driven by power grids that will enable two-way flow of power, instead of the traditional one way supply. Gadgets like smart meters already being used in Dubai, will enable consumers to become participants in energy efficiency, through use of AI generated data that can guide their usage.

It enables experimentation in all aspects of the technology and is aimed at achieving the UAE’s future environmental sustainability goals.

The laboratory which is located on the university’s new campus has been established in collaboration with leading industry training systems provider, Lucas-Nuelle.

It’s set out to promote teaching, research and training to prepare the next generation of engineers for the future challenges in sustainable energy production and consumption.

Dr Abdulla Ismail, professor of electrical engineering at RIT Dubai, said: “The smart grid is the future of electrical energy, providing a more reliable, efficient, safe and cost-effective production and distribution system that incorporates sustainable power sources and supports the new generation of infrastructure and transportation.”

“Smart grids replace the traditional one-way power flow with a two-way system that allows for the active participation of energy consumers. This enables them to make sustainable choices about the source of their electricity supply, how they use it, and provides the opportunity to sell domestically-produced power back into the grid, from roof-top solar panels, for example,” he added.

Dr Muhieddin Amer, chair of electrical engineering and computing sciences at RIT Dubai said: “In collaboration with the main campus in New York, we have placed a growing emphasis on education and research in the renewable energy field, through a range of academic courses and industry engagements. The new laboratory reflects the top-tier of power systems technology and will further support our goal to help facilitate the shift towards greener solutions for a sustainable future.”

Apart from empowering residents to make sustainable lifestyle choices, smart grids will also allow them to enrich the power supply, with energy produced from rooftop solar panels in residential and commercial buildings. The grid can also connect with smart homes to guide distribution of electricity to appliances depending on availability and prices.

Although the Emirates is moving quickly towards adoption of AI, cloud services and IoT to bolster its position as a tech hub, the country is also investing in creating an ecosystem for homegrown innovation. Followed by the world’s first AI university in Abu Dhabi, initiatives such as this lab at Rochester Institute are aimed at nurturing local talent with potential for creating futuristic solutions.

It enables experimentation in all aspects of the technology and is aimed at achieving the UAE’s future environmental sustainability goals.

The laboratory which is located on the university’s new campus has been established in collaboration with leading industry training systems provider, Lucas-Nuelle.

It’s set out to promote teaching, research and training to prepare the next generation of engineers for the future challenges in sustainable energy production and consumption.

Dr Abdulla Ismail, professor of electrical engineering at RIT Dubai, said: ‘The smart grid is the future of electrical energy, providing a more reliable, efficient, safe and cost-effective production and distribution system that incorporates sustainable power sources and supports the new generation of infrastructure and transportation.

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